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Linglestown Gazette: Tax question is key vote in May 15 primary

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tax question is key vote in May 15 primary

This is the first in a series of bite-sized posts to help you prepare to vote in the primary election next Tuesday.

In my view, the key issue on the ballot is Act 1, which is a state-mandated question about school taxes.

Act 1 offers a tax shift: pay a higher local income tax to get a property tax cut.

Will you get an overall tax cut? Maybe, and for Linglestown residents who get one, it will be less than a buck a day – not enough to buy a cup of Joe at the new Dunkin Donuts shop.

The problem with a tax shift is that it creates winners and losers. With Act 1, senior citizens who own their homes and homeowners with incomes below a break-even point get a tax cut, while renters and middle- and high-income homeowners get hit with a tax hike.

In Central Dauphin School District, the earned income tax would rise to 1.9 percent, up from 1.5 percent, which would result in a $330 tax cut starting the second year under the revised tax setup; the estimated tax cut the first year is $231. Households with earned income of more than $82, 500 would pay more in taxes than under the current system.

Based on newspaper accounts, few who are fully informed about Act 1 are supporting it. Instead of a tax shift, many citizens and school board members want state lawmakers to lower or eliminate property taxes by revising the way public education is funded.

IMPORTANT NOTE – Voters who are registered independent or with a third party CAN cast a vote on Act 1.

Links to check out:

* Background information posted on Linglestown Gazette

* Reform group PACleanSweep recommends a "no" vote on Act 1.

* The Patriot-News: Will tax-relief promise ring hollow again?

* Act 1 tax calculator for homeowners in C.D. School District


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